I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker yesterday about inexpensive clothing. I told her my instructor, for my FSH 619 class Developments and Current Debates in Fashion at Academy of Art University, asked if we’d seen any changes in fast-fashion recently? When I told her, I’d said, “Yes,” and pointed out the new day from Target plaid jacket and blue and white striped shirt dress I was wearing while stating it was a real bargain, she flew into a thinly veiled rage.
“People in this area, of Koreatown, would rather buy as many pants and tops as they can at Ross, then spend more money on one thing that might be “longer lasting” at Target, she said. “Besides their clothes are too expensive.”
Laughing I told her that I didn’t blame them because the skinny jeans, Harajuku Lovers sneakers I was wearing and the Betsey Johnson purse I carried that day were all bought at Ross over two years ago. It’s true that I’ve been mistaken as an extremely wealthy fashionista because I know my way around an outfit, and I always try to upgrade whatever I wear to emulate a Vogue, Porter, Nylon, Elle or Marie Claire layout, but my ultimate goal is to find quality items at a great price with great style.
Still reeling, from both the derision of my outfit and later a compliment about it from a woman on the bus home, I took my trash out the next day and saw a sordid display of discarded garments. On the one end of this issue, I was insulted for treating my fast-fashion with pride while this unknown culprit was applauded for being “poor”. Which one is right? The consumer who thinks about tomorrow or the person who could care less.
As this drama goes on, with both sides fighting for position, the only resolution I see is to realize we have a longer way to go to get back where we should be.